William J. Craig

William Craig

Dr. William J. Craig is awarded the University Consortium of Geographic Information Science (UCGIS) Fellow status to recognize his outstanding contributions to geographic information science and his exceptional service to UCGIS. Will Craig was one of the early pioneers in GIS as Project Director (1973‐75) and Systems Director (1974‐77) of the Minnesota Land Management Information System at the University of Minnesota. Along with CGIS (the Canadian Geographic Information System) and New York’s LUNR (Land Use and Natural Resources Inventory System), MLMIS was one the world’s first operational GIS. MLMIS was a research and development project, fully developed and transferred to the state of Minnesota in 1977. Craig subsequently received his PhD in geography (1980) at the University of Minnesota where he continues to work as Associate Director of the Center for Urban & Regional Affairs, an applied research center working to connect University faculty with public policy issues in Minnesota. He and Bob McMaster subsequently started nation’s first professional master’s degree, the Master of Geographic Information Science (1997).

Dr. Craig has been exceptionally active at the National level, having served as president of the three of the major GIS organization: URISA (1986‐87), UCGIS (1995‐96), and NSGIC (2009‐10). He was UCGIS's second president, leading the largest growth the organizations history. Subsequently he chair UCGIS's Policy & Legislation Committee (2000‐2003), organizing Washington meetings that drew significant numbers of Congressional staff members and executive agency representatives.

As URISA’s representative, he chaired the program committee for the first GIS/LIS conference (1988), a multi‐organizational conference that ran for decade). He chaired the AAG's Census Advisory Committee (2006‐2007) and helped transform it into the Government Data and Employment Committee. He led NSGIC's Address Work Group (2006‐08), focusing on the release of the Census Bureau’s Master Address File, especially its geographic coordinates. He has served on the National Research Council’s Mapping Science Committee and two of its study committees, most recently producing National Parcel Data: A Vision for the Future.

Professionally, Will Craig has led many significant efforts including: PPGIS, the GIS Code of Ethics, and valuing the contributions of GIS professionals. His 2002 book Community Participation and Geographic Information Systems, edited with Trevor Harris and Daniel Weiner, culminated two decades of organizing, practicing, and writing on Public Participation GIS (PPGIS). He 1993 URISA Journal article, A GIS Code of Ethics: What Can We Learn from Other Organizations?, led to his chairing the committee that developed GISCI's Code of Ethics; in fact the code is closely aligned with Craig’s interpretation and organization of material taken from those other organizations. His 2005 URISA Journal article, White Knights of Spatial Data Infrastructure: The Role and Motivation of Key Individuals, documents the value of individuals in achieving the NSDI and more importantly, makes recommendations on how to encourage such behavior in others.

UCGIS is pleased to award Dr. William J. Craig with 2011 UCGIS Fellows status.

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